Part 2—Conned by the corporate channel: Midway through last evening’s hour, Lawrence O’Donnell made a sad but revealing presentation.
Lawrence was discussing ISIS. As he opened his segment, he rolled his eyes at those hopeless fools, them the American people.
To watch the whole segment, click this:
O’DONNELL (9/15/14): In the spotlight tonight—America’s state of confusion over the Islamic State.Poor Lawrence! Yeats was “fastened to a dying animal.” In turn, the cable star is tied to a group of “wrong Americans.”
A recent NBC News poll shows America is confused and wrong about the situation in Iraq—as usual. 62 percent of Americans now support the United States taking action against the Islamic State, while 68 percent of Americans say they don’t think U.S. action will work
And so tonight, Americans are officially the most gung-ho war pessimists in the world. And:
A CNN poll has a very familiar sounding finding that 90 percent of Americans believe that the Islamic State poses a threat to the United States, which happens to be identical to the 90 percent of wrong Americans who said they believed that Iraq posed an immediate or long-term threat to the United States in 2003.
In massive numbers, they’re confused and wrong—“as usual!” His throw to Richard Wolff went like this: “Richard, you can’t get a more confused citizenry than the United States when you put the word Iraq in a poll.”
The American people are dumb, so dumb. They are just always wrong!
Ironically, one of the O’Donnell’s guests, David Rohde, quickly betrayed his own belief that ISIS represents a threat to the nation. (“There is a threat...I don’t know if we can ignore it.”) Having watched Lawrence’s introduction, Rohde sanded the edges of his statement, thereby avoiding a fight.
That said, the American people are just so dumb! Ninety percent of the public, including Rohde, are “wrong Americans”—“as usual!”
As with Yeats, so too with Lawrence. In his case, it’s a shame that someone so brilliant is tied to a gang of baboons!
That said, forgive us for sometimes getting the sense that this attitude lurks in some discussions as the Salem Village of “cable news” goes after the NFL.
Needless to say, this attitude has long existed in pseudo-progressive and pseudo-liberal circles. This attitude longs to hear itself expressed--and it routinely undermines progressive interests.
Forgive us if we think we hear this attitude occasionally being expressed as the Salem Village of corporate “news” chases the NFL. To our ear, the children from Harvard you’re shown on TV are up to these old tricks again.
Whatever! Earlier, Lawrence had thundered about the high crime rate within the NFL. Forgive us for wondering if “Sir Lawrence of O’Donnell,” as he was once derisively known, has perhaps been skipping his homework in recent weeks.
Here's how the bungle went down:
One guest, Brent Schrotenboer, said that NFL players generate about one arrest per week. Lawrence reacted in the way we might have reacted a month ago, before the recent wave of coverage of these matters:
O’DONNELL (9/15/14): How many NFL football players are there, Brent?Davidson seemed to know everything that can be known. She’s [Columbia] class of 2012. People, we’re just saying!
SCHROTENBOER: About 2500.
O’DONNELL: That’s an awful lot. One arrest a week, 2500.
I mean, think of a college of 2500 students getting one arrest a week, or any assembly of 2500 people getting one arrest a week. That is amazing!
Brent Schrotenboer and Kavitha Davidson, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
Lawrence thought the NFL arrest rate is “amazing.” We might have had that same reaction as of a week ago.
To our surprise, studies seem to show that arrest rates for NFL athletes are substantially lower than for American men in general (adjusting for age). We find that surprising, but there it is!
Last night, this finding was mentioned on the Chris Hayes program, one hour before Sir Lawrence began deriding the dumb-assed American people—one hour before his own apparently dumb-assed comment about those amazing arrest rates.
We've been surprised to hear those findings about NFL arrest rates. At this point, we wouldn’t swear on pain of death that those findings are accurate.
That said, we’re aware of those findings because we’ve been trying to inform ourselves about our latest corporate firestorm. Sir Lawrence, to whom the American people are “as usual” dumb, may not have been making a similar effort.
Whatever! To our ear, the mobs on our TV screen last week often seemed to be working from Salem Village. To our ear, they were handing you an entertainment/moral outrage package of a familiar type.
When these cable dunkings unfold, key information may fly out the window. You may hear factual claims which are false.
Other facts will be withheld. They cut against the preferred point of view of the cable mob.
Sometimes, you will be treated like absolute fools. Consider the bullshit that same Chris Hayes handed you last Friday evening.
Hayes was speaking with the Boston Globe’s grim-faced Shira Springer, Harvard 1997. The pair staged a classic cable performance, offering the most heinous possible explanation of every action and utterance by the several villains being chased by the mob as of that night.
For details, see our next post.
Hayes and Springer had already offered a parody of journalism. As the pair of parsons ended their string of canned denunciations, they played their liberal viewers for fools, horrifically handing them this:
SPRINGER (9/12/14): You have a fan base, at this point, that is still supportive...To watch the whole segment, click here.
Not only that, sponsors have not taken any action yet. You still have this incredibly profitable machine going forward the way it’s always gone forward, doing business. And it seems that really, in the end, all that matters is the bottom line and that fans keep coming in to support players, whether they’re Ray Rice or Ben Roethlisberg [sic] or other players.
HAYES: Yes, that seems to be the big question going forward, whether this scandal starts to eat into the bottom line. And whether sponsors start getting hinky. As of yet, there’s no evidence of that. But we shall see, of course.
We should also say last night’s Thursday night football game was the highest-rated Thursday night football game in history.
SPRINGER: That may say it all.
HAYES: Yes, that may say it all.
SPRINGER: That may say it all.
HAYES: Shira Springer, thank you so much.
Springer was raging against the machine of NFL profits. (As she did, she served the machine of MSNBC profits.)
She was also rolling her eyes at those horrible fans, in a nice O’Donnellesque touch. For full text, see our next post.
By now, the pair of parsons had already staged a textbook segment of anti-journalism. But as they closed, they ramped up the volume, playing Hayes viewers for fools.
How bad are things out in the country, among the people O’Donnell derided? This bad! According to Hayes, the previous night’s Ravens-Steelers game had been “the highest-rated Thursday night football game in history!”
“That may say it all,” the grim-faced Springer quickly said.
Hayes agreed with his scolding guest. “Yes, that may say it all,” he replied.
“That may say it all,” Springer said again, grimly.
At this point, Hayes thanked Springer so much—and why not? She had performed her role in the Salem Village of the “cable news” mob.
What was wrong with what the parsons said? In what way were they treating liberal viewers like fools?
We’re not sure if last Thursday’s game really was the highest-rated Thursday night game in history. Surely, though, Springer and Hayes must have known why the game recorded a 108 percent rating boost over last year’s first Thursday night game.
Duh! Last week’s game aired on a broadcast network! Last year, Thursday night games aired on the NFL Network, a private pay channel. This year, the first eight Thursday night games are also airing on CBS, where people can watch them for free.
At the Boston Globe web site, Springer is described as “an investigative and enterprise reporter for the Sports section.” She must have understood why last Thursday’s rating had been so high.
It’s very, very hard to believe that Hayes didn’t understand too. But when these terrible, horrible climbers hand you the corporate outrage package, every fact will be twisted and spun to give us the story we like.
O’Donnell will say that NFL arrest rates are amazingly high. Hayes will let his executioner guest say that Thursday night’s rating, which went unexplained, grimly “explains it all.”
In such ways, these horrible people show us something many of us refuse to see. Christopher Hayes is Roger Goodell. “Cable news” is the NFL.
In the current entertainment/outrage spectacular, one corporate behemoth is chasing another. The cable parsons are running with ropes as they chase the latest witches.
When these cable spectaculars start to unfold, we’d advise you to check your wallets. We’ll guess that the stars of Cable Salem are frequently checking theirs.
Next post: How the cable chase is performed! More from Hayes and Springer